One of Canada’s busiest airports is getting a major makeover.
The Calgary International Airport (YYC) is undergoing a $2-billion expansion that will see it nearly double in size.
The airport has had an explosion in traffic in the past decade, increasing 60 percent in the last six years alone. An expansion is now crucial to bring the infrastructure up to speed, say airport authorities.
“Both our terminal and runways are often over-capacity during our peak times—they’re under construction in order to meet our current needs,” says Jody Moseley, director of corporate communications & marketing for the Calgary Airport Authority.
“The extension projects are absolutely needed.”
The expansion, said to be the largest in the airport’s history, will include a new 4.2-kilometre runway, the longest of its kind in Canada, as well as a concourse expansion double the size of the terminal building.
To accommodate the weight of an aircraft—which can reach almost half a million kilos—the runway had to be built with a triple-layer cake of packed gravel, cement stabilizer, and concrete going more than a metre deep.
It will be able to land the world’s largest planes and accommodate all the major airlines.
The new 183,500 square metre concourse will feature sustainable design principles such as a geo-thermal heating and cooling system, natural light, and recycled rainwater in its waste management system.
To reduce the environmental impact of the increased construction activity, the airport also introduced a fleet of Smart cars to ferry between the many projects on site.
“There’s a lot of things that we’re doing to make sure that the facility is running in the most efficient way and to minimize any kind of environmental footprint, even though we’re expanding the airport substantially,” says Moseley.
The expansion will boost local business and maximize capacity of the airfield, she adds.
“It will really just allow us to bring in even more services here, and that’s really important for us, as well as Alberta and the region of Calgary as well.”
The project is currently about one-third complete, with the runway set to open May 2014 and the concourse expansion in October 2015. According to a recent stakeholder’s report, the expansion is “on schedule and on budget.”
Calgary is home to the highest concentration of corporate head offices in Canada after Toronto, and its booming economy comes with a high volume of foreign visitors and domestic travellers. Last year the airport welcomed over 12.5 million passengers.
YYC is currently the fourth busiest in Canada after Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.
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